One of Pizza 4P’s brand values is “Authenticity”. It’s kind of a policy that we always ask, deeply think about “what is being authentic?” to create pieces of work and bring about real creation, not that one takes things superficially or imitate them. We’ve collaborated with and shared thoughts with creators who we think have such an attitude.
From now on, we’d like to share spirits and thoughts of authentic creators who have been involved in Pizza4P’s through the serial articles named “Attitude of Authenticity”.
As the first article of” Attitude of Authenticity”, I’ll introduce Takeshi Yoshizawa (Japanese) who lives in Hanoi and engages in activities as an indigo dying master and her wife, Thanh (Vietnamese). They joined an indigo dying project at Pizza 4P’s INDOCHINA DA NANG which opened last December. The customers applauded the design full of craftsmanship with indigo curtains which spread over the whole big windows and indigo-made walls applied repeatedly and elaborately over time. Actually the color of indigo is the corporate color of Pizza4P’s and an very precious for us as well. This time, I’d like to deliver a story about such “indigo dying” to you.
Pizza 4P’s：I have never seen such gigantic walls dyed in deep indigo.
Yoshizawa：I was very surprised and happy to hear that Pizza4P’s wanted to paint the big walls of over 100m2 in natural indigo. The concept of the new restaurant is “fermentation of the place” which comes from the fermentation of Pizza dough. I heard that the restaurant focuses on natural and recycled materials in order to express the concept. I was honored that the great value of natural indigo was discovered.
However, I was worried because, this time, I wouldn’t use indigo for a cloth as a dye, but paint it on an inorganic wall, which I had never experienced before. It was a big challenge for me, because I was not able to grasp the whole picture even after lots of research. It might not go well. Only I could do was just try it anyway.
Pizza 4P’s: It was a difficult situation with no preceding examples, wasn’t it?
Yoshizawa: Dyes such as indigo and pigments such as paints and colors are different in the first place. In case of dyes, coloring matters are combined molecularly with fibers such as a cloth and a string to create the state of “being dyed”. In case of pigments, on the other hand, a color puts on a surface and lets it dry to create the state of “covering the color underneath”.
At the first trial, I simply applied dying liquor on the concrete wall, but the color didn’t stay nor develop. It’s only natural because it cannot permeate inside. Then, I mixed it with plaster which was often used as an ingredient to paint a wall. However, indigo didn’t develop its color even after it is mixed in the plaster because indigo develops its color by getting oxidized while indigo exposes to air. Then, I came up with an idea of mixing the liquid made in the course of creating dying liquor with the plaster and mixing it also with dying liquor to apply on walls. After that, I repeatedly experimented in several ways. But it was less than 4 weeks until I would open the restaurant when I reached an idea which seemed feasible and I got really frustrated with it.
Pizza 4P’s: Things actually went well?
Yoshizawa: Well, actually not because the color didn’t stay. However, I tried to come up with a new idea, ordering muddy Indigo from Hanoi to increase concentration of dye and decided to repeatedly apply twice as much dye as when I experimented after all. It was time and labor-consuming work. I was not able to apply it at once. I added muddy indigo into dying liquor and let it take rest for a few hours and went ahead while keeping the state of indigo.
Luckily, I’d been blessed with weather and had enough sunlight and temperature, which made indigo perfect. I’d worked until the morning of the opening day applying indigo for 7 times and cleansing/settling it for 3 times after all.
Pizza4P’s： You’d done it until the very last minute. How about the indigo curtain?
Yoshizawa: I think Indigo is a very assertive color. It defines the whole space and atmosphere especially when it is used for interior. Strong indigo makes the room dark and light one makes management of uneven dying difficult. Indigo is vulnerable to sunlight and gets sunburn as well. I needed to create design appropriate to a minimum and modern restaurant.
At first, I was told that gradation would be good, but I proposed a curtain with the color of indigo and the unbleached arranged alternately and various tie-dye patterns applied in some parts when a curtain is drawn. As for tie-dye, I used different patterns for 14 curtains. Some of them are traditional ones from ethnic minorities in Vietnam. As for nuitorishibori (a pattern-making method) comes from a hood worn by an ethnic minority of Sapa. The small starry pattern is a tie-dye pattern of a hood worn by an ethnic minority of Lolo.
Pizza 4P’s: You introduces traditional approaches of Vietnamese ethnic minorities. That’s impressive.
Yoshizawa: I had engaged in textile jobs for a long time and visited textile-dyeing sites in Asian countries. Each traditional textile has an excellent handicraft technique that has been handed down for many centuries and is a precious cultural asset. However, I witnessed such valuable things disappearing while the economy was developing at a rapid speed after the 1990s. I felt a sense of crisis about this and started a project with original organic products that were made by Sapa, an ethnic minority living in the Northern mountain area in Vietnam. Since my wife was born and raised in Sapa, I thought I would truly understand and respect their culture.
Pizza4P’s：Why did you get interested in tradition of such ethnic minorities?
Yoshizawa：When I first visited Sapa, I was quite surprised by the fact that all men and women, young and old wore ethnic costumes appropriately while protecting their ancient animism and the traditional belief. Here, textile-dying culture and the sense of value, the sense of world and the religious world that support such culture were seen everywhere just like it’s only natural… or like air.
Ethnic minorities living in Sapa such as Black Mon, Red Dao, Zai, Black Tai and Safo have their own distinctive cultures, the religious worlds and costumes. I was impressed that they were proud of those and lived a humble self-sufficient life with great smiles in nature although they were all poor. I thought I would tell these to all of you or to the future.
Pizza4P’s：It seems very difficult, but is it actually possible to hand down such cultural values?
Yoshizawa：Although there are only a few villages by now, but in some villages where we started activities at an early period, handicraft techniques have been handed down from aged and skilled workers to the next generation. Right now, the young generation is discovering meanings to the succession as one of economic activities. Therefore, it is necessary for them to understand how the works they are making deserve to be proud of and how valuable they are. Respecting, motivating, appreciating them and listening to unreasonable things that they’ve suffered are our great tasks.
Pizza4P’s：I was impressed with such a big ambition. I’m really honored to join the activity.
Yoshizawa: I believe that ancient textiles and dyes that have been continued over many centuries can’t be compared to mass production that can be easily achieved with the modern science technology in this 21st century. Craftsman’s lengthy period, efforts, pray and thoughts, various colors and smells are woven into their cloth and also long stories grown in the climate of the Northern Vietnam are dyed into it.
Right now, the big transition has come to the mountain area in the Northern Vietnam. Sapa, which used to be a quiet village, is one big tourist destination with numerous high-grade hotels. Things that have occurred in other countries actually started in this country as well. Nobody can stop this trend. The change of lifestyle makes wearing costumes by an ethnic minority fade away. If they wear costumes less and less, techniques to make costumes will go into decline. Now that there are only a few skilled craftsmen, it is no longer easy to take back what has gone.
Pizza4P’s：Is there any hope all the same?
Yoshizawa: As interests in organic materials are increasing every year in the world, it is also likely to boom in Vietnam. Some young people in urban areas with a new sense of value started to review Vietnamese own culture. They wear traditional costumes and natural elements as one of fashion items and try to create a new demand in Vietnam.
The time has come when we are able to always share a sense of value across a border or race on the Internet. If we connect the next-generation creators with a new sense of value and create opportunities to make a totally new values and demands, we have a slight hope for the future, which is our true role.
Pizza4P’s：Well, that was a wonderful story. Thank you very much.
I ‘m really taking off my hat on energetic passions that Mr. Yoshizawa and Ms. Tain want to hand down Vietnamese tradition and cultural values to the future generation. All staff of Pizza4P’s are very honored to work together with you two and other members. Our roles are to tell their spirit even if a little through medium called a restaurant.
You can see indigo-dying walls and curtains with full of their thoughts can be seen Pizza4P’s INDOCHINA DA NANG which opened in December, 2019. Please visit to experience this wonderful project. I’m sure you will feel warmth or an abundant heart and gain lots of inspiration.
（Photo）From the left, Mr. Yoshizawa, Ms. Thanh, Mr. Suzuki (designer), Mr. Kubota from Pizza4P’s
The store owned by Mr. Yoshizawa and Ms. Thanh is in Hanoi. I hope you will come.
Address：33A Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi, Viet Nam
Phone：+84 24 3719 3090